William Melchiorre of Hadley, joined the Milestones community a year ago, and for the last six months he’s been finding his voice as a singer in Whole Children’s Joyful Chorus as well as with Milestones’ Friendship Band as a singer, guitarist, and ukulele player. In that short time, he’s taken the stage at The Thread Arts Collective, Barnes & Noble, Lathrop, Wild Goose Chase, Pathlight’s Annual Dinner, and the Everyone Has a Voice concert with Sarah Lee Guthrie.
But one of his favorite places to play is a weekly gig at High Meadow, a Pathlight residence for people with developmental disabilities and complex medical needs.
Every Monday, William joins Brian Melanson, a Milestones teacher, to spend time with the High Meadow men singing, dancing, and playing games. “It has been a pleasure to watch William become increasingly comfortable performing for and interacting with the men at High Meadow,” said Brian.
“Seeing him share his incredible voice and musical gifts in a meaningful way with others is a joy. Our performances are sweet, sincere, silly and occasionally off-the-wall; William is quickly discovering how to go wherever the music takes him. He has exactly what it takes to succeed in this environment.”
William says there are lots of things he likes about being a part of the Milestones community—swimming and fishing at the DAR in Goshen, laps in the YMCA pool, theater productions, Anime class, and cooking on Thursdays. “Last week, I made Shepherd’s Pie. We only had one potato masher and had to share, so I used a ladle to squish the potatoes down,” said William, laughing.
Still, it’s safe to say that making music with and for others is one of his favorite things about Milestones. “William has made a positive impact on both the Milestones team and participants since day one,” said Marc Stanislas, program manager. “His selflessness in helping others, his motivation to reach his goals, and his inquisitiveness to learn new things are just a few examples of who William is. His work performing at High Meadow has given him the opportunity to express his genuine love for music and demonstrates his determination to get out and work. ”
“I really like Milestones,” said William. “I try new things here.”